PHOENIX, Arizona, June 5. NEXT week, a swimmer could be making her way from the shores of Havana, making the 103-mile trek across the Caribbean Sea to the Florida Keys. But it won't be the legendary Diana Nyad, who failed to complete the trip four times in nearly 40 years.
Chloe McCardel, an Australian whose most notable accomplishment is a double crossing of the English Channel in 2010, will attempt the treacherous swim and set the record for the longest open-water swim. Currently, Penny Paltrey's 68 miles between Grand Cayman and Little Cayman in 2011 stands as the standard.
McCardel, 27, is doing her swim much earlier in the year than Nyad, who waited until mid- to late summer to start her trek. According to an article on cnn.com, McCardel said she feels the number of jellyfish will be much lower in mid-June than in late July.
“They'll be hanging around but we won't be running into multitudes of them like Diana did in the past,” McCardel said.
Nyad's most recent attempts were thwarted by numerous jellyfish stings that caused her to lose feeling in her extremities, in addition to weather issues and other physical ailments.
If successful, McCardel would be the first person to complete the trek unassisted. In May 1997, Australian Susie Maroney completed the swim in 25 hours while encased in a shark cage.
The swim will take an estimated 60 hours and will require McCardel to swim without breaks, though Nyad did so in her previous attempts to be examined by medical personnel that accompanied her in a nearby boat. She'll also be joined by shark spotters and kayakers to keep her on course.